March 12, 2012

March 12: He sent out his word and healed them


By Luke Gascho, executive director of Merrry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College
THIS WEEK’S THEME: He…overturned the tables

The materials that I was asked to work with were all dead! In 1972, my college adviser asked if I’d be willing to assist him on a project. The focus was on organic gardening and a main task was to make compost. While this job may not appeal to many, I was eager to sign on to the undertaking.

So I built large bins out of recycled wood, gathered huge piles of leaves and shredded plants. All the dead material was mixed together – and slowly wonderful compost emerged that was used extensively in the gardening project the next growing season. It was amazing to see the results. How was it possible that dead material could produce such a life-giving product?

I was convinced of the value of this process. Not only did I believe in the concept of composting, I have chosen to practice it ever since. As I write, I know there are two large compost piles in my backyard slowly turning into something of great value to my garden. One pile is two years old and will be used this spring. The other one has a year to go before it is ready to add its energetic boost to my vegetables, berries and fruit trees.

The metaphor of compost is very fitting in this fourth week of Lent. It is often hard to understand how death leads to life, why healing comes with a price, and how foolishness leads to redemption. As I reflect on my years of working with compost, I know the vibrancy of a plant will end each season. Yet by skillfully working with that dead matter, a product will emerge of great significance for the next generation of plants. As I spread compost, I know I am adding health to the soil. This is a kind of redemptive foolishness!

Like the nurturing qualities of compost, may you find healing in the words of this week’s lectionary Scripture passages:

• “Wondrous works for all people” – Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

• “Look at it and live” – Numbers 21:4-9

• “We are God’s accomplishment” – Ephesians 2:1-10

• “Light came into the world” – John 3:14-21

And sign on to the life-giving healing of the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.



Comments (10)

  1. Your meditation was a thoughtful reminder to me that the words we use to begin lent, “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” not a consignment to worthlessness or non being, but contain a sense of “redemptive foolishness.” Thank you for your wisdom. Pax, Bill

    bill March 12, 2012 |
  2. Amen and amen, Luke. These are lessons I, too, have learned and continue to learn.

    Mary LY March 12, 2012 |
  3. Thanks Luke. A reminder that what may not “productive” in our way of looking at something may have more value than its appearence.

    Ora March 12, 2012 |
  4. Thanks for sharing this lovely devotional about composting as an image of how dead things turn to life. I have been a composter for at least 25 years now and never cease to marvel at the “brown gold” that emerges full of life and energy for my garden. Right now I am walking alongside a very close friend as he his walking his last mile through cancer toward death. May his death be the source of life. This we believe and hold to by faith.

    Jack Heppner March 12, 2012 |
  5. Thank you for such a wonderful reflection. I, too, am a gardener and have learned so much from composting.
    Blessed Lent, and merry gardening!

    Ann Whitaker March 12, 2012 |
  6. My mother died almost 3 years ago. While she was alive I rarely cooked using her recipes, now that she is gone I have begun using them regularly. Now my grandchildren are learning to enjoy my mother’s talent in the kitchen. Using what is left behind from those who haved died dooes moore than just keep a memory alive.

    Cyndi Manes March 12, 2012 |
  7. Thank you, Luke, for this down-to-earth reflection. Since Christ’s Resurrection, all matter is shimmering with divinity.
    Joyous Lent.
    Mervyn Carapiet

    Mervyn Carapiet March 13, 2012 |
  8. I really enjoy the variety of these reflections. Thanks for your contribution affirming life after death!

    Sr. Karen Flaherty March 13, 2012 |
  9. When you said, “How was it possible that dead material could produce such a life-giving product?” that reminded me of the event that this season of Lent is leading up to – the Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection – a perfect example of how death gives way to, and even produces, life.

    Elizabeth S.O. March 13, 2012 |
  10. Thank you for this reminder. I love Isaiah’s description in chapter 53 of how Christ passing below all things indeed has a grand and redemptive purpose. It is a perspective to keep. Likewise, there is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that says that Christ “will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know…how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” It is amazing to think that because Christ descended below all things He now rises above them all to help save us from physical and spiritual death.

    Jo April 18, 2012 |